Local Government (Review of Decisions) Act 2015

The front cover of the Local Government (Review of Changes Act)

An article by Ian Hoult, Head of Emergency Planning & Resilience, Hampshire County Council

Colleagues in local government in England and Wales will need to be aware of the Local Government (Review of Decisions) Act 2015 which was passed by Parliament on 26th March 2015 and came into force on 26th May this year.  Colleagues in Scotland and Northern Ireland should also acquaint themselves with the Act as parts of it do also apply to local authorities within those devolved administrations.

Essentially the Act has been brought in to give event organisers or applicants the right to have a review of decisions taken by local authorities which prevent their proposed event taking place or place restrictions on it on the grounds of health and safety concerns.  It is the view of corporate lawyers at Hampshire County Council that this Act pertains to Safety Certificates at designated sports grounds or those with regulated stands and applications for Special Safety Certificates at those locations.

Colleagues will therefore have to consider when deciding if events can be certificated at a designated ground or regulated stand or are imposing any restrictions, to what extent health and safety considerations have influenced those decisions.

If Health and safety considerations have influenced such a decision then the local authority has to communicate that decision to the applicant or event organiser in writing (email does suffice) within one working day.  The applicant or event organiser then has the right to request a review of the decision.  This review has to be undertaken by the local authority which made the decision.  At Hampshire we have arranged for the Corporate Monitoring Officer to undertake this review.  The results of the review then have to be communicated in writing to the person who requested the review and this all (i.e. review and communication of the results) has to be done within 15 working days of the review request.

If the applicant or event organiser is not content with the results of the review then they have the right under the Act to request an investigation into the decision and the review by the Local Government Ombudsman.

I trust colleagues find this of interest and recommend they seek internal legal advice on its implications for their own authority.  Clearly the Act has implications for other areas of local authority decision making but we do need to be aware of it in relation to sports grounds.